March For Babies 2012

Monday, February 27, 2012
It's that time of year again!

As you all know, my son who I refer to here on my blog as Turtle-Love was born 5 weeks premature, and spent almost 2 weeks in the NICU receiving treatments. I touched on this briefly in my post about breastfeeding - Our breast feeding journey thus far.

Last year I started a team, in my son's honor, to March for Babies. We are team Little Tiny Love. The March of Dimes hosts the March for Babies each year, in multiple locations nation wide. The March for Babies raises funds and awareness for issues surrounding and causing premature birth, infant death, and birth defects.

Click here for a closer view

Last year our walking team included myself, my younger sister, and both of our best friends. My best friend even brought her son to keep Turtle-Love company! Together we raised over $500! This year - we are hoping to raise even more.

Between now and our walk on April 29th, I'll be campaigning to raise money to donate in our teams name for this years walk. I'll be posting Turtle-Love's birth story, NICU story, and more during this time. Use the neat little badge I added off to the right(up top) to donate or sign up to join our walking team.

Thank you all in advance!

Crazy busy

Sunday, February 26, 2012

This week has been crazy busy and I'd like to apologize for my last minute post for this week. Yes, I do realize it is already Sunday and thus the new week has already started. However, I like to live by my inner child's rules in these moments - It is still today until you go to sleep,  even if its already tomorrow.

I don't recall if I shared this, but we are moving. Oh, we aren't going far - just across the street almost. I'm excited we finally found a place and look forward to signing the lease and getting the keys next week. This place has a yard with separate space where I can start a vegetable garden. :-)

On top of house hunting, I 've been caring for a wee sickie. Yep, Turtle-Love appears to have gotten some kind of cold. Poor boy. The first day was the worst but he is much better now. He has a nasty cough but it sure doesn't slow him down!

I'm sorry this post is all over the place. It's nearly 3am and I've been going to bed at this time nearly every night since Valentine's day. *sigh* It seems I'm a glutton for punishment and have had project after project to complete once hubby gets home. Which has been late.

Sleep, one day I'll catch up with you....

Anyhow - here is a picture of Toad wearing Turtle-Love. I love a man who baby wears :-) I recently learned how to tie a wrap kangaroo/front rucksack style and tried it on hubs while we were shopping with the wee sickie. I'm posting this from my phone so I'm interested in seeing how this will work...

I love our babysitter

Friday, February 17, 2012

I have the best babysitter, EVER.

It's just a fact.

Why? You say. What makes her the best?

Oh. I'll tell you!

She loves my son.
Point blank. Unconditionally, as if he were her own child, loves my son.

Her family loves my son. All of them! Her mother, her sister, her grandmother... They swoon over him and give him hugs and kisses and her male counter-part even has a 'secret hand shake' (the baby fist bump) with my son.

Her daughter love my son. She is about a month younger than my little Turtle-Love (though you wouldn't know it looking at them!). They play all day long and conspire against her together, creating mischief at such a young age! The have lengthy conversations, share hugs and kisses, and food, and love.

Oh - this is not one sided! My whole family loves all of them too! But this is not that entry.

She cares for and about him. Genuinely.

She cloth diapers! Her daughter is in cloth, so of course my son is in cloth with her too!

She doesn't mind handling breast milk. Not that I'm providing it anymore, because I don't have a pump. But when I did, it was never an issue. You wouldn't believe how many people do have an issue with this.

She encourages his growth and development. They play games, sing songs, read books, walk, talk, scream, squeal, play follow the babies, use American Sign Language to assist in communication, and much much MUCH more.

We communicate often. If he bumps his fingers, or isn't feeling well, or for whatever reason throws a tantrum to shame most well versed three year olds - she lets me know.

He does something cute, or funny, or if she knows I'm having a rough day - I get a video of my lovely little =)

She takes dozens of pictures. I miss nothing.

My son absolutely adores her, and her daughter. Well, and the rest of her family too. But especially her and her daughter!

Starting this summer they will be doing art projects, and field trips, and more, since they (my son and her daughter) are now reaching the super discovery age. They even did a little practice recently - she 'helped' my son make Valentines for my husband and I. =)

She holds him, hugs him, kisses him, and loves and cuddles him as much as he wants. He wants to sleep in her arms? Fine. He wants to nap in her lap? That's okay too. I envision the three of them cuddling at nap time - which doesn't actually happen that often. More often than not Turtle-Love is too excited to nap while at her house, and instead promptly falls asleep while nursing after I get there.

And what prompted this post? I've got a picture for you...

She babywears my kid =)

In the picture she has my son strapped on her back and her daughter in her stroller, and they are walking trough her neighborhood to a friend's house to play with another baby their age. =)

Side note... our area experienced an earthquake a few months back. Which is out of the ordinary... Anyhow, in the event of an emergency situation the plan is for her to double babywear and get the heck to safety. LOL.
Hey, it's a dang good plan! She has a couple carriers on hand at her house, as I do at mine. (SEE honey... totally legit reason to have more than one carrier right there!)

She does many many fantastic things, all while struggling threw her own daily pain. She is an amazing women, an amazing mother, an amazing babysitter, and an amazing friend. She is definitely a part of our village.

Shout out to her blog, btw... Whispered Words Forever Captured Her button is over there ---> on the edge of my blog.
Actually... She made my button ---^ too. Grab them both =)

Too bad this was taken a couple hours ago, and a little late for the Wordless Wednesday: Alternative Caregivers on the Natural Parents Network. Oh well, I love this picture all the same - so of course I asked her permission to share it here with all of you!

the Bestie is gettin' married!

Friday, February 10, 2012
This is going to be a REALLY quick post, but I just have to share with the world...

My Bestie is gettin' married!


And she asked me to be a bridesmaid =)

So excited!

I'm also really excited for a legitimate reason to look at wedding gowns, and venues, and cakes, and invitations now that our wedding has gone by, nearly four months ago. I know lame, right?

I love wedding details!

Gasp! I've been married for almost 4 months?!.

Her boyfriend now fiance proposed to her with the help of their 16 month old son =) They are engaged to be married next year on their three year anniversary of becoming a couple. Such a great day to choose! And only one day for him to remember ;) They will be tying the knot in sunny Florida!

I'm so excited for them!

Congrats, Bestie!

Re-learning to coupon

Friday, February 3, 2012
Oh how couponing has turned out to be so popular!

It wasn't always that way. I remember feeling like my family was being judged for using coupons at our grocery store. I would try my best not to let it bother me but I was a kid, you know?

My mom tried to make it fun for us. I mean, she let us play with scissors, err, I mean cut out the coupons for her. She would also hand us a stack in the store and send us off to match up the items and bring them back to the cart. I realize now that my mother is a genius. Teach us to save money using coupons, teach us to read and understand the fine print instead of just matching the pictures (tricksy little pictures, those are!), and keep us entertained and out of her hair?! Genius! We played along, helped do the shopping that always took hours usually once a month, and our reward was delicious fast food on the way home. No seriously, we got really excited about our fast food on the way home! Think about it. Us kids got junk food that was oh-so-yummy, plus soda, plus a toy! And a mini milkshake/ice cream hybrid?! Sweet deal! Some of you may be wondering why the heck you would pick up fast food after getting groceries. Because after four hours of shopping with two (or more, we always had friends over) energy filled and inevitably whiny, needy, kids after a 12+ hour day on your feet at the local Post Office, who the heck wants to cook dinner?? I wouldn't.

Speaking of learning to coupon - my mom set a great example. She planned her trips for triple coupon days That's right. Triple. Coupons. Does anyone even do that anymore? We would go in the store with a massive pile of coupons. Walk every single isle searching for in-store deals, and matching coupons and products. Add more coupons from "tearpads" and "blinkies". If my mom knew about a sale that had a limit per person, our friends were absolutely coming over that night, because we would all be pawns in her check out game. Oh that was the best part! Acting like grown ups, walking through our very own check out line, cash and coupons in hand. Sometimes my friends and I, and even my little sister once in a while, would use a made up funny accent. Because of course if you use an accent you must be an adult. No matter if you can't actually see over the register... After hours of shopping we would come to the check out with two, sometimes three carts full of groceries. We always got stares. And it always took forever. If I recall correctly, my mother had her receipt pinned up on the wall behind the Customer Service Desk once. To serve as a reminder to the cashiers they needed to draw straws for who was going to take us next month, I'd bet. It was taller than all of us combined, and I can't even imagine how much we saved. Every single thing we bought would either be on sale, or have a coupon, and often both. My mother was the original extreme couponer, ladies. Props to you Mom, mad props.

Over the years we laxed on our couponing. As I grew in to teen-terror-dom (to put it nicely) I became less willing to help (understatement of the year) and my sister was incredibly stubborn (you know it's true!). Once I was able to drive I started taking over some of the shopping trips with Mom's credit card. It wasn't my money, what did I care if we used coupons or not? Teen-terror-dom was strong, and had a long and tumultuous reign.

Now that I'm growing up (yes, growing. As in currently.) with a family of my own, it's time for me to start behaving accordingly. I'm a bit of my hippie - just putting it out there. My husband is growing to love his inner Eco-friendly person. We are trying to evolve into better consumers, learning how we can respect our Mother-Earth as much as we love and feel thanks for her. Our son was the wonderful beginning of this transformation. After all, we want him to respect his planet, his home, and to care for her. Up to that point we had been all talk. Our journey started with the decision and execution to cloth diaper. The rest of this story is perhaps for another time though. Right now we are working on expanding our nutritive horizons, with an effort to eat more organic, GMO free, and locally made products whenever we can. These things are expensive compared to the crap I buy on sale regularly. Oh yes, teen-terror-dom may have dropped the couponing, but I've been conditioned to love a good sale from within the depths of my being! Okay, maybe that is a bit extreme. You get the point, right? So - with our desireneed to consume more consciously, conscientiously, and healthfully also comes the reality of our finances and the realization that we need to make a better effort to be kind to our financial well being as well.

Ladies and Gentlemen. It's time to get serious about coupons.

Normally I'm a Kroger shopper. My mother always shops at Kroger, I've spent all of my life shopping in that one particular store. I even had my first job at that one particular store. Let's face the facts though, The "organic foods" section in Kroger takes up approx 1/8 of the store's space. The options are limited and I'm pretty familiar with the prices and selection. We decided we wanted to give Whole Foods a try.

Yesterday I took the time to go over the ad, and print coupons off for things I wanted. Of course I left my coupons at home while we were out and about, but we decided to head to the store anyways. We picked up lunch first because I was starving. The bar area they have, while organic and delicious, was a bit more expensive than I was hoping for. Well worth it though, and since we missed our three month wedding anniversary a couple weeks ago, we agreed to justify the unusual expense as a celebration of our union together - with a tribute to our commitment not only to ourselves as a couple, and our family, but as a commitment to eating better, and providing a better example for nutrition to Turtle-Love. (I don't care if that makes sense or not). We then spent about an hour just walking through the store. We only purchased a hand full of items, all on sale. It was more of a recognizance mission to compare the prices of our regularly purchased items, to see what we were up against.

I ♥ shopping with my boys =)

I have to admit I had sticker shock at some of the things I saw, and was forced to remind myself not only was this a completely different store but that the product was organic, and that I generally buy said item at Kroger non-organic on sale, etc. I was also pleasantly surprised at the very little price difference between some things. An example? Whole Foods' brand of organic spaghetti sauce was the same everyday price as some of the big brands Kroger carries, while on sale. We bought the spaghetti sauce, as well as a couple cans of natural soda that were on sale (note: the only time I drink soda is when I'm sick or enjoying a root beer float on occasion. Our house has been battling a super nasty stomach bug, so I'm in the market for some decent ginger ale), two boxes of Bell & Evans Chicken Tenders (one of which was gluten free, we want to see if there is a taste difference) that were buy one get one free, and some organic avocados that were on sale for a dollar for Toad's mom.

Any one have good resources for coupons, or tips to pass along to me as I re-learn to coupon?